I wonder what the percentage of Wesleyan pastors are women? I need to find out since I just went on the board of the new Center for Women in Ministry located on the SWU campus. What is our percentage? 1%? One tenth of a percent? I don't know and I need to find out.
I do know there are LOTS more women preparing for ministry. I have them in my classes. They are gifted and called. Of course I know that fewer women (and men) make it into the ministry than study as CM majors. But I wish I knew the percentage.
It seems like the United Methodists have lots of women ministers. I did hear (thanks to sharp reader Wes McCallum who told me this) that 25% of United Methodist Bishops worldwide are women. That's pretty good. I'd like it if 33% of our General Superintendents were women by 2008.
But the Methodists have fewer women pastors than I thought... just 7% worldwide. However that is up from 5% in 2003. It probably will change more in the future since half of all enrolled students seeking ordination in United Methodist seminaries are women.
LATER ADDITION FROM UM MINISTER & PROFESSOR CONSTANCE CHERRY FROM UM WEBSITE (USA numbers only)
Women, who have long supported and strengthened the mission of The United Methodist Church, are stepping into the pulpit in ever greater numbers. The number of clergywomen who serve the church has seen a dramatic increase at every level, from local pastors to bishops. As of December 2006, nearly 10,000 United Methodist clergywomen made up about 27 percent of the church’s total active clergy. That is up from just 15.8 percent in 1995.
Clergywomen represent 21.5 percent of more than 26,000 pastors-in-charge, but only about 1 percent of senior clergy in churches with 1,000-plus members are women, compared to 6 percent for men. About 15 percent of female elders are district superintendents, and more than 1,000 are racial-ethnic. The UMC was the first mainline Christian denomination to have a woman bishop, and in total, has elected 21 women bishops, 16 of whom are active.
According to the Association of Theological Schools’ 2002-2003 Fact Book on Theological Education, the number of women seeking seminary degrees more than tripled between 2002 and 2003, from about 10,000 to almost 32,000 (31 percent of all students). In 1995, the total was only 7,602. In the 13 United Methodist theological schools, women enrolled in master’s programs in fall 2002 totaled 1,442 (52 percent), compared to 1,270 men (48 percent).
Less than half of IWU ministerial students are women. Those we have are wonderfully gifted , but they are less than half. I don't know that number either. I need to find out though if I'm going to serve on this board.
I am strongly in favor of men and women who hear God's call to actually enter the ministry. I don't think X or Y chromosones are a reason to block people from responding to God's call. I'm glad Wesleyans are willing to ordain women--even though it is harder for them to find jobs still. If Wesleyans didn't ordain women I'd have to tell all these gifted Wesleyan young women to switch denominations--after all it is better to obey God than be submissive to men with hang-ups about women preachers.
I'm proud of the Wesleyan women ministers I know... here are just a few of them and their stories...These are the women ministers I'm thinking of while writing this...
* A wesleyan young woman with a strong call to ministry who was told by her home church pastor in INdiana (after several years as a CM major at IWU), "I don't believe females should be ordianed." She was rattled by her mentor's attitude. But after a year of studying the issue embraced her call and now is in seminary
* A wesleyan female with a call is studying at college but some male students told her that her call was invalid because she was a female--she droped out of school for a year and returned home to her home church but fell under the influence of an amazing woman youth pastor and God reconfiemed her call and she returned to finish."
*A woman who graduated with a call to ministry and married a guy with a similar call. Her husband abandond his call and she now wonders what to do .
* A woman who testified to a call and married a minister and went to seminary and togeter are now planting an inner city church as co-pastors.
* A woman who secretly felt called to the ministry graduated from IWU but nobody ever prompted her with the sort of comments guys get: "Have you heard a call to ministry--you really have the gifts and graces for it?" She went through IWU so rarely hearing a an ordained woman preach in chapel that she left the call latent and only later when she saw an abudance of women ministers did she embrace her claling and is now ordained in The Wesleyan Church.
* A women who was a Psychology major and "sort of" sensed a call but never embraced it, she married a minister but later on sensed her call fully, took a full time minister's job in two different Wesleyan Churches, and is nowordained and finishing up seminary with her husband.
* A woman who never seemed to waver in her call, studied hard, graduated and now is a leder of a huge and effective youth ministry in a Wesleyan Church. She will one dayu be a General Superintendent, a DS or large church pastor... no doubt.
* A woman who was an academic Dean who heard her call to the ministry in middle ages and is now pastoring and making up courses through Flame etc--though she already has a Phd.
* A women social worker who was married to a minister and heard (or accepted) her call later in life then did her courses, got ordained and probably will be elected General Superintendent in 2008, giving us 33% women General Superintendents--more then the Methodists!